Mathew Lee Yensan, a 25-year-old from North Carolina pleaded guilty to manufacturing and selling large batches of Xanax on the dark web.
Mr. Yensan last month admitted to federal charges of possession with the intent to distribute a quantity of alprazolam, distribution of a quantity of alprazolam by means of the internet, possession of a firearm, conspiracy to conceal transactions with a financial institution with drug proceeds more than $10,000, and international money laundering.
Although fentanyl continues to be the leading illegal drug currently running the dark web, Xanax, however, cannot be ignored as it is also causing some major damage to teenagers. Xanax is a mild tranquilizer used in the treatment of panic disorders, anxiety, and depression and is on the verge of causing a crisis in the UK. There have been increasing concerns about how this drug is making its way into the lives of young people in the UK. Just recently, doctors in the UK also expressed their worries about this drug as they stated that there has been an increase in young people being admitted to hospitals after taking too much Xanax.
Research has identified the UK as the second-largest market for anonymous sales of Xanax in the world and this has prompted authorities about the emerging crisis at hand. Data from a sample of the biggest dark web marketplaces were used in a research by the Oxford Internet Institute which showed that, although Xanax made up 3% of all total trades monitored, a single trade could see the sale of up to thousands of pills.
Yensan, a Columbia, S.C native and owner of Y Vending got his illegal operation compromised in July last year after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration got information from an informant that he was manufacturing huge amounts of Xanax using several pill presses at a storage unit on Gorman Street in West Raleigh.
Some few weeks later on the 9th of September, a package which was addressed to Yensan’s home was seized by an office with the federal postal inspector’s service. The package was revealed to be containing three pounds of marijuana.
Federal agents then obtained a search warrant for Yensan’s home three days later. Upon searching the house, DEA agents seized over 12 pounds of superior-quality marijuana again, a THC-based wax for smoking, two pounds of shatter and numerous bottles of prescription medication.
Also recovered by the DEA agents were fully loaded weapons including, a Smith and Wesson revolver, 2 Glock 40 caliber pistols, a Colt revolver and an MPS 22 caliber rifle. These firearms, according to the agents were hidden in positions they described as “defensive positions”.
A further search led to the discovery of a huge amount of cash in a locked safe, an extra $300,000 in another safe, cryptocurrency bitcoin debit cards and other digital evidence and also a fake South Carolina driver’s license.
A second warrant was also obtained to search a unit at Ample Storage. At the storage unit, agents seized 400 pounds of Xanax precursors and benzodiazepine, another anxiety drug, 200 to 300 postal shipping boxes containing various amounts of Xanax pills packaged in Mylar bags, three industrial-size pill presses; two electronic mixers; an electronic pill counter and 70,000 counterfeit pills of pressed Xanax with a street value of a quarter million dollars, according to the search warrant.
Yensan was afterward served with a notice by federal authorities which ordered him to surrender all his properties and other earnings he got as a result of the illegal activities he was involved in. Yensan gave up two Bitcoin storage cards, three pill presses, four personal watercraft trailers and vehicles, a 2014 Chevrolet Colorado and a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette, Bitcoins with a value of $715,151.97, and $269,068 in cash in addition to all the firearm seized.
Yensan later received federal charges including one count each of distributing a controlled substance by means of the internet and possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.